Friday, November 25, 2011

I still haven’t quite gotten used to being the older generation at my family/friends, multigenerational Thanksgiving dinner.

I still haven’t quite gotten used to being the older generation at my family/friends, multigenerational Thanksgiving dinner. In some ways, Thanksgiving is a lot easier now. Rick and I used to drive to Rhode Island every year to spend Thanksgiving with Rick’s relatives. Rick and I for so many years were the middle generation. His parents are deceased and we now we spend Thanksgiving with my sister, her friends and their children; now we just drive to the Philadelphia suburbs.

My husband and I were the oldest people sitting around the table; next my sister, her husband and friends in their early 60’s: then the generation ranging from late 20’s to early 40’s and at last the next generation— beautiful 4 month old Evan.

My son Cris who has never been able to shake off the old holiday habits from those joint custody days of his childhood has two Thanksgiving dinners—one with his father’s family and one with us.
Cris after having eaten 2 Thanksgiving dinners

One of the really bizarre aspects of getting older is the way our sense of self lags so far behind our chronological age. When my brother-in- law kindly announced our arrival with “Here come the old people,” my initial reaction was, “Who me?” But as Rick says, “Get used to it.” At least we’re still here, and we have each other, and some wonderful folks to spend Thanksgiving with.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I thought the Bar Association could be counted on to insure a judicial candidate met minimum qualifications, but apparently not.

I thought the Bar Association could be counted on to insure a judicial candidate met minimum qualifications, but apparently not.

I’ve never been a fan of electing judges, and sure don’t want Bob Brady deciding who gets to be a judge. However, I thought that at least we have the Bar Association to certify that the candidate has the minimum qualifications for the office. I had also assumed that the Bar Association could be counted on to certify that the candidate was of good character (at least no major scandals or ethics violations). I was wrong.

Just in case you missed it, a very troubling article about Judge Nocella appeared in at Monday’s Inquirer.

Newly elected Common Pleas Court Judge Thomas M. Nocella credits U.S. Rep. Bob Brady - Philadelphia's Democratic Party boss - for intervening with ward leaders to put him on the ticket.

"He is the one in control," said Nocella, 67, rated qualified for the bench by the Philadelphia Bar Association, despite having been sanctioned by the city Ethics Commission in 2009.

He pointed out that he had done years of free legal work for the party and said the judgeship was his reward. "That's the way it's done in Pennsylvania," he said.

On Jan. 2, he will begin drawing a $165,000 judicial salary. Nocella welcomes the new income because there is a $358,000 IRS lien against him, the state says he ignored local taxes for years, and he has more than $1 million in debts listed in a bankruptcy case.

He is also embroiled in a Common Pleas Court lawsuit accusing him of fraud and deceit in 2005, when he helped sell off property for $507,500 that was owned by a Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Manayunk.

Nocella was totally unapologetic about getting a judgeship as his reward for doing free legal work for the Party. No wonder so many young people today want nothing to do with electoral politics.

According to Nocella, “No one on the [Bar Association] panel asked him about the VFW lawsuit or about fines that he was forced to pay by the city Ethics Commission two years ago.” Were they asleep at the switch or did they just not care?

Nocella lost three primary elections, but despite these repeated rejections by the voters, Brady chose him to fill a last minute vacancy, thus making a total mockery of the democratic process.

I urge you to read the entire article and let Rudolph Garcia, the chancellor of the American Bar Association know what you think of his organization’s decision in this case. Americans for Democratic Action and the Philadelphia Chapter of the National Organization for Women have written letters of protest and I expect other progressive organizations will as well.

What will it take to get citizens angry enough to demand change in the way we choose judges??

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The joys of a later than usual Fall

Fall was later than usual in the Delaware Valley this year. I was complaining about this in mid October, but now I’m really enjoying all the fall foliage remaining in November. I can’t remember a year when there was still so much color in November. Maybe it's my imagination but the reds seem more brilliant this year. My euonymus which most of the year is a scraggly, non-descript shrub has come into its scarlet glory.

euonymus aka burning bush

A little volunteer Japanese maple has sprung up in the wrong place, but it’s so beautiful I can’t bear to uproot it.

And some of my beloved shrubs are just starting to turn!

oakleaf hydrangea not yet at peak color

My flowers are mostly all gone, but I have the consolation of berries.
crabapple tree

And then there re those tough little pansies which can survive a killing frost and sometimes make it through the winter!

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Cataract Operation: The Acid Trip for Old Age

The Cataract Operation: The Acid Trip for Old Age

Last week my husband had a cataract operation. A few days later, we were in Valley Green Park taking in the spectacular fall foliage. Rick was looking up at the sky in wonderment, saying, “the sky is unbelievably bright. I’ve never seen a blue like that. It’s like everything is back lit. And I can see yellow, red, and orange leaves on that tree.”

I said, “You mean you can see different colored leaves on that tree?” All I could see was an orange blur. His reply, "Yes, I can see distinct colors.”

There was something weirdly familiar about his look of wonder and then it hit me. That was just how my crazy hippie friends and I would talk about our acid trips, marveling at the magical world of intense colors LSD and mescaline opened up for us.

My trips were a little less intense than most; I was a cautious "just a ¼ tab” person. I really didn’t like my brain playing tricks on me and with my small dose I got the heightened perception without the bizarre delusions. Kind of like Rick’s cataract operation!

My generation experimented with drugs and for most part did not pay a price; now people are serving long prison terms – simply for possession. I’ve always been bothered by this, but have never done much but publish an op-ed in Philadelphia's Daily News: From the article cross-posted at the Philadelphia NOW blog:

Many powerful and successful women and men in our society experimented with drugs in their youth. But their careers were not derailed; their families were not torn apart. Sadly, they are now willing to ignore the fact that another generation of women and men are being incarcerated in appalling numbers for drug-related crimes.

I can look back nostalgically at my (few) acid trips while right now there’s somebody rotting in jail for having had the misfortune to take drugs in a much less permissive time.